My father was a patriot in every sense of the word. His actions and attitude have had a profound effect on me, for which I am very grateful. He was a modest man who believed that he owed his country, not the other way around.
In 1944, my father quit during his senior year of high school and enlisted in the US Army. He wasn't forced to do this; it was his choice. It was an honor for him to serve his country.
As a child, it was fascinating to hear the stories of my dad's military service. He had so many stories that he shared with his children, but he was careful not to tell of things that might scare or upset us. We saw his medals and awards and he'd explain what each one was for, not that we fully understood. Unfortunately, over many years, the medals disappeared.
A few months ago, I discovered that you can obtain duplicate medals of a deceased family member or a living veteran can make their own request. I was thrilled. They aren't the originals, which saddens me, but duplicates are better than nothing.
Being a genealogist, I am often requesting records from various places. One of these requests was for copies of my dad's entire military history. The only paper he had from his time in the service was his discharge paper. I was able to get his service record which detailed his entire time from basic training, to where he was stationed, his commanding officer's comments and also his medical report. The medical records provided me with insight as to what my father was like when he enlisted, right down to which exact teeth had cavities.
We learned more about my dad's modesty when I received his medals. Included was a Bronze Star, which none of us ever remembered seeing or hearing about. I wondered if they had made a mistake when it was sent to me. However, once my dad's full military records arrived, there it was in the records. He had been awarded a Bronze Star and had never once mentioned it. My admiration and respect for him grew even deeper, which I didn't think was possible. My biggest regret was that he had died a year earlier and I no longer had the opportunity to ask him about it.
After I received all this information, I wanted a special place to keep all of these records. It had to be something that would be easy to access and hopefully, showcase his records with the honor they deserve. I began looking at photo albums, but the pages weren't big enough for the military records and the outside of the albums just didn't go with what I had in mind. When I began looking at bigger books in the scrapbook section, I found a military type design, but that still wasn't right. I was about to give up when I spotted this album. It was exactly what I wanted.
The dimensions are approximately 13" x 13 1/2" and it included 20 pages. More pages can be added if needed. I was able to sort out his records in order, from enlistment, through duty stations and then discharge. I can't put his medals in there, but I took photos of them and included the photos.
A raised emblem with the United States Army seal on it decorates the front of the book. It adds even more class to a nice looking album. I keep the book on display in my living room, which makes it easily accessible for me and also anyone else who might want to look.